Sunday, December 5, 2010

Canadian-Cuban artists exchange art and culture

Three Cubans recently spent six weeks in Nova Scotia teaching and learning about Nova Scotia art and culture.  Although the two Cuban artists spoke little English, through a translator Heriberto Acanda Ramos said, "Culture has no language."

Mr. Acanda was accompanied by fellow artist Raúl Jesús Garcia Hernández and cultural centre manager Mayda Hernández Morejón. The group brought 20 pieces of art from their home in Pinar del Rio. The pieces were on display at the Lunenburg Art Gallery and at Pier 21 in Halifax.

The Nova Scotia and the Pinar del Rio cultural exchange began in 2003 when Lunenburg County artist Ruth Wilton hosted a Cuban supervisor through the Canada World Youth Project. After developing a friendship, Ms Wilton and her husband visited Cuba in 2004. During their stay, they met with Ms Hernández Morejón and the idea for the art and culture exchange resulted.

Read more at South Shore Now

Friday, October 29, 2010

Farmers Tour of Cuba!

Canada-Cuba Farmer to Farmer Project

Winter 2011 Farmer Exchange

Three days of sun and luxury on Cuba's beautiful Varadero Beach / Eight days of travel through Cuba's countryside visiting large cooperative farms / Three days in Old Havana

Farmers: this tour is deductable as a business expense!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Pinar del Río / Nova Scotia Cultural Exchange
in partnership with

Pier 21 Canada’s Immigration Museum

invites you to attend the opening of

Cuban Connections 
A celebration of Cuban Culture and Art in 2 Parts.

October 6, to Nov 14, 2010.

Ralph and Rose Chiodo Harbourside Gallery

Details available on the website of
the Nova Scotia-Cuba
Artists' Collective

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reverend Lucius Walker, Found of Pastors for Peace, Passes Away

The Rev. Lucius Walker, one of the leading figures in the fight for normalized relations with Cuba, is dead.

Walker, 80, of Demarest, N.J., led the Pastors for Peace caravans to Cuba. He was a longtime civil rights activist and founding director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, or
 IFCO. An IFCO announcement said:

It is with immeasurable sadness that we write to let you know of the passing of our beloved, heroic, prophetic leader the Rev. Lucius Walker Jr. this morning. We will write with more information as soon as arrangements are made. Please keep his family and his IFCO family in your prayers.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cuban Medical Teams in Haiti: Update

Six Months after the Earthquake: Time to Build Public Health Care in Haiti

July 29, 2010--In the six months since the deadly earthquake struck Haiti, MEDICC and its partners have launched multiple initiatives to support long-term health care provided by hundreds of doctors on the frontlines in clinics and hospitals across the country. These are young graduates from Haiti and the region trained at Havana’s Latin American Medical School, joining over 350 Cuban doctors and other health professionals to dramatically increase access to health care for all Haitians by building a system of public health services.

Full Story at

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A key reference on Cuban doctors abroad programmes

Cuba is rarely assessed objectively by external critics, typically being viewed through leftover Cold War filters or dismissed as an anachronism for its continuing effort to make socialism work. This book provides an excellent survey and analysis of Cuba's deeds in the international arena of health care, disaster relief and South-South cooperation. Kirk and Erisman effectively answer those critics who see Cuba's international medical programme as having foundations in the economic crisis of the 1990s (i.e., selling medical services to keep the money flowing) and instead provide a comprehensive historical accounting of Cuba's assistance to the developing world. 

The case is effectively made that Cuba's global health initiatives arise from a commitment to solidarity rather than any profit motive. Of particular interest is the revelation that in situations where Cuban military or technical support has been requested (Algeria, Angola, Congo, etc.), the Cubans ensured that medical and educational staff were significant components of any agreement. One looks forward to a followup study on Cuba's activities in Haiti, as this book was published before the January, 2010 earthquake. Cuban assistance to Haiti pre-dates the disaster by a decade, and is a prime example of the enduring benefits Cuban assistance provides: Cuba's medical teams were on the ground when the quake struck, were and continue to be the largest single medical team working on the island. This is development in practice, rather than empty words.

Important note: The authors of this book are generously donating all profits to the MEDICC programme that supports the Cuban medical effort in Haiti.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Spoken Word Performance by El Jones: MONCADA


By El Jones, Halifax, Canada, July 23, 2010

I am the weapon fired in the Barracks at Moncada

I am the first blow struck for liberty in the resistance

I am the raised fist and the heroism of the martyr

I am not a rifle, shotgun or pistol. My ammunition is

The ideal of equality sown in the minds of the parking lot attendants

Delivery boys, chauffeurs and street vendors

The 25 rebels raised without fathers

The legacy of oppression felt in every ghetto

From Rio de Janeiro to Harlem

I am the bullet in the chamber loaded in Santiago

In the speeches of Eduardo Chibas

And broadcast in the barrios on the people?s free radio

I am Viva La Cuba Libre in embryo

Spoken in Spanish and Creole and

Stoked in poverty and broken homes

Until it was shown in growing whispers among the youth

On the streets and in universities

I am the truth and the grassroots marching in the boots

From day labourers to Che Guevara

I am the ancestral memory of the sugar cane fields

The machete passed from the hands of Toussaints warriors in Haiti

To the Cuban sugar workers labouring in the heat

I am snatching victory out of the jaws defeat

I am the speeches written from the prison cell

And the spit in the eye of the torturer

I am Fidel?s courtroom testimony

When I descend I strike a blow for solidarity

I am the revolution waged since 1492

Begun in the resistance of indigenous Taino and Arawak

And sustained in their descendents

Labouring in tobacco plantations

I am embargo and self-sustaining

I am guerilla tactics learned on the 26th of July

I am the absolution of history

I am the ongoing battle for independence from

The American attacks from 1906 to Guantanamo occupation

My echo has been felt from Palestine to Iraq

In every national struggle for liberation

I am the refusal to bow to imperialism

I am the destruction of class division

I am the 300 million of the people?s money Batista carried into exile

I raise fists against corruption I march miles

For the people?s rights I am the general strikes

I am the shot fired across the color line

For the mulattos and Afro-Cubanos

The shades not light enough to work in hotel cabanas

I am the legacy of slavery and African birthright

Whose beat runs through the salsa and mambo

I am the spirit of Baba Shango

I put the heat in the cold war

I am street festivals and the resistance of the poor

I am the redistribution of land and local ownership

I am nationalization of industry, collective agriculture and public education

I am the constitution that says the people own the nation

I am the belief that rice and peas served to all people

Tastes sweeter than steak served to the elite

The shots I fire are completed in Cuban doctors

Saving earthquake victim and free health care

Extended across the Caribbean

I am brown and black people?s freedom

I am the troops sent to Angola to fight South African apartheid

I am asylum offered to Asata Shakur and political exiles

The blows I strike have been felt from Bolivia to Venezuala

I am the coca farmers and the baseball players

And the peasants fighting oil corporations in the Amazon basin

I am the battle for land repatriation and slave reparations

The Caribbean workers in the free trade zones sewing sweatshop labels

I am the union organizers on Dominican sugar Bateys

The squatters rights and transnationalization of indigenous populations

The indigenous confederations fighting from Brazil to Peru

I am the Cuban revolution

And I will survive beyond Castro

Because I am the shot fired in the name of equality by heroes and martyrs

I am Moncado, I am Havana,

I am the ideal that thrives in the minds of the people

I am liberation.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Friday, July 23rd from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Victoria Park (Spring Garden and South Park), Halifax

July 26, 2010 will mark the 57th anniversary of the act that is annually celebrated all over Cubaas the beginning of the movement and struggle that paved the way for the Cuban Revolution.  On that day 57 years ago, Cuba's rebels rose up against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.  Although that first battle was lost, the Revolution ultimately prevailed.

On July 23, we gather to remember and honour those that were lost on that day, and to celebrate Cuba's independence.  There will be performances from noted Nova Scotian jazz artist Jeff Goodspeed (director of famous youth music group Los Primos), El Jones (acclaimed spoken word artist), and more!

This is a free event organized by the Nova Scotia Cuba Association.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cuba's 2010 Municipal Elections: article by Arnold August

Read this in-depth report of the recent municipal elections in Cuba.  The author offers a detailed look into the structure of local Cuban democracy -- excellent reading for those that do not know a great deal about the structure of participation in Cuba.
The Elected Delegate and the Dissident in Cuba's Municipal Elections

Saturday, May 15, 2010

CNC Honours Cuba's Dreamcatcher Role in Haiti

On May 5, 2010 a moving ceremony was held in Havana, Cuba to mark the continuing success of the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC)'s Cuba For Haiti Campaign. The campaign, launched in January 2010 in response to the earthquake disaster has thus far raised nearly $100,000 to support the Cuban Henry Reeves Medical Brigade in Haiti. Participating in the event, held at the headquarters of the Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos (Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples - ICAP), were Raciel Proenxa Rodríguez, Director of Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Commerce and Investment, Isaac Saney, Co-Chair and National Spokesperson of the CNC, officials of ICAP, members of the Canada-Cuba solidarity movement and Haitian youth studying in Cuba.

Proenxa thanked the CNC for its contribution and explained where the money is being spent. At the time of the earthquake in Haiti, 402 Cuban internationalists, 302 of them medical personnel, had already been helping Haitians, Proenxa pointed out. Since the earthquake, he explained, Cuban cooperation has grown to 1,304 persons, with 679 Cubans, and 625 graduates and students from 26 other countries, trained and educated free of cost at Cuba's Latin American School of Medicine. He further noted that as of May 4, 2010, 330,306 patients have been treated, with 8,428 surgeries performed. Proenxa emphasized that Cuban assistance encompasses more than just the provision of immediate medical attention. It is now also focused on strengthening and rebuilding the Haitian healthcare system. Toward those ends, the Cuban medical and paramedical internationalists work in 56 hospitals and healthcare centres, and have installed and equipped 30 rooms, in which 85, 401 patients have been treated.

On behalf of the CNC, Saney stressed that the Cuban internationalist mission not only assists the Haitian people at a time of great need, but underscores the magnitude of the island's generosity and national altruism. In this regard, the success of the Cuba for Haiti Campaign lies not only in the money that has been raised but also in the possibility it offers to participate in a truly humane solidarity project, Saney said. Saney recalled that in 1998 at a meeting between then Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Cuban President Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban Revolution proposed a joint Cuba-Canada cooperative project to rebuild the Haitian healthcare system. Cuba could provide the personnel and Canada could contribute the material resources required, Castro pointed out. Even though Chrétien ignored the proposal, the CNC decided to take it up, Saney said. The fundraising for Haiti via the Cuban internationalist mission has been very warmly received by Canadians, he said. Despite being ignored by the Canadian monopoly media, the campaign demonstrates the confidence that the Canadian people have in Cuba, he added. He pointed out that some of the contributions have been given by people simply on the grounds that if the money they want to give to Haiti goes through Cuba, they feel confident it will safely reach its destination and not be squandered in corruption or misused. This shows the respect and admiration of Canadians for the Cuban people and their efforts to build and defend a society centred on independence, justice and human dignity, Saney said.

Saney concluded by presenting Proenxa with a dreamcatcher made by the Mi'kmag people of Nova Scotia. Dedicated to the Henry Reeves Medical Brigade, Saney noted that just as the dreamcatcher allows only good dreams to pass through while destroying nightmares, so too the Cuban medical and educational internationalist missions stop the nightmares of disease and illiteracy from reaching the people, while demonstrating the alternatives which permit people to realize their deepest aspirations, and that another better world is possible.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cuba rated best place to be a mother

Cuba provides the best conditions for motherhood among developing countries, according to Save the Children's State of the World's Mothers 2010 report.

The report, made public Monday, examines 160 countries - 43 developed and 117 developing ones - and analyzes the best and worst places to be a mother based on 10 factors such as the educational status, health, economic circumstances of the mothers, as well as the basic well-being of children.

Read the story at Times of India

Download the report from Save the Children (PDF 3.8 megs)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Truro resident cycles Cuba

Around Cuba on two wheels

Bob Williams loves an adventure. Having recently returned from a 800 km bike ride around Cuba, he hopes to chase the warm weather north this spring with a ride up the eastern coast of the U.S. 

Published on March 26th, 2010
David Archibald

Truro resident cycles Caribbean island

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cuba 2010 Run for Canada’s Terry Fox

HAVANA TIMES, March 22 — With the visit of the family of Canada’s late Terry Fox, theMaratón de la Esperanza (The Hope Marathon) took place in Havana on March 20.  Every year hundreds of Cubans gather in front of the Kid Chocolate Gym and facing the Capitolo Building to shorten the distance separating cancer from people who are healthy.

More from the Havana Times

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

50 Years of Friendship & Solidarity: ICAP at Just Us! in Halifax


The Nova Scotia Cuba Association Cuba will be hosting a presentation on "50-Years of Friendship & Solidarity: The Cuban Revolution in the World" by special guest from Cuba, Esperanza Luzbert, Director of the North American Section of the Instituto Cubano de Amistad con Los Pueblos (Cuban Institute for Friendship With the Peoples). A particular focus will be on the annual 2010 Ernesto Che Guevara Volunteer Work brigade. All are welcome!

7pm, Tuesday, March 16 at Just Us! Cafe, 5896 Spring Garden Road, Halifax

For more information on the "Che Brigades" click here:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cuba Sends Doctors to Chile

Members of the Henry Reeve Cuban medical brigade for emergency situations left for Chile this Tuesday to help in areas struck by the earthquake and tsunami that have affected large territories of this South American nation.

The brigade is made up of 27 health specialists who were sent off early this morning from Terminal 5 of Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport by Cuban Health Minister Jose Ramon Balaguer Cabrera.

The group includes a total of 11 doctors specialized in different medical fields, six nurses and the same number of technicians who carried tents, sets of instruments, equipment, medicines and even their own food, all transported in two Cuban aircrafts.

Source: CubaNews

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cuban Program Initiated in Haiti to Address Psychosocial Trauma

PORT AU PRINCE, February 20.— More than 4,000 Haitian children and their families so far have joined in a Cuban program aimed at helping Haitians recover from post-earthquake psychosocial trauma.

Cuban psychologist Alexis Lorenzo, an expert from Havana’s Latin American Center for Disaster Medicine, explained that the program being implemented by the Cuban medical mission in Haiti will serve as the methodological base for a national psychosocial support program for children and young people to be implemented by the Ministry of Education.

The initiative also incorporates Haitian experiences from previous disasters and that of long serving International organizations in Haiti, reported the Prensa Latina news agency.

One of the goals of the Cuban project, which held its 41st activity on Friday, is to help Haitian children deal with the horrifying memories of the January 12 earthquake, and from the bleak aftermath of the disaster and the daily hardships of life in the makeshift camps set up in parks and plazas. The classroom for most is only a memory and their current depressing panorama is a real detriment to overcoming the tragedy.

Cuban psychologists, along with teachers from the Haitian National School of Arts who have joined the program, continue to work hard to help children recover from the earthquake-inflicted psychosocial trauma, carrying out activities that include games, singing and drawing.

(Juventud Rebelde)
Reinforcements: International Team of Cuban-Trained Doctors Arrives in Haiti

An international team of some 50 doctors trained at Havana's Latin American Medical School (ELAM) has arrived in Port-au-Prince to join Cuba's medical relief contingent in post-quake Haiti. Coming from a dozen countries, they are the first wave of ELAM graduates expected to number over 200 from 24 countries in the next week.

They will join the 1,147-strong Cuban-led International Henry Reeve Emergency Medical Contingent, already comprised of 736 Cubans plus 402 ELAM graduates from Haiti, 7 from the USA and 2 from Nicaragua—together the largest medical relief effort in Haiti.

Read more from

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cuban-trained US doctors arrive in Haiti

NEW: CNN Video report on Cuba's increased presence in Haiti

Cuban-Haitian Medical Teams in Haiti
February 2, 2010—Cuban and Cuban-trained Haitian doctors—already the largest contingent of medical relief workers in Haiti since the January 12th earthquake—are being joined by graduates of Cuba’s Latin American Medical School (ELAM) from a score of countries.  Among the first to arrive this week will be several US physicians who studied at ELAM.
Of the 938 health care providers in the teams on the ground thus far, 280 are young Haitian doctors, and at least 60 more are Haitian medical students enrolled at the school. Over the next few weeks, they will receive reinforcements of their peers in a number of Latin American, African and Caribbean countries.
(

Cuban-style Medicine
Rev. Lucius Walker tells us about the US-born, Cuban-trained doctors headed to Haiti and why their unique training has prepared them for this mission.

Listen to the Tavis Smiley Show

Sunday, January 24, 2010


In response to the horrendous suffering of the Haitian people resulting from the earthquake and its many aftershocks, many Canadians have been wondering what is the most effective way to provide aid. The Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association of Toronto has proposed the Cuba for Haiti fundraising campaign which is also endorsed by the Canadian Network on Cuba as a national effort.
Read More Here ... 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Where were the Cubans?

When the earth shook in Haiti: Where were the Cubans?

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI. — Not even in the midst of this stressful situation have the Cubans lost their spark, and when I ask how it is possible that the 200-plus Cubans whom, at 4:53 p.m. today, January 12, were living here in this city managed to survive the deadly earthquake, some people tell me that it was divine intervention; others, with a half-smile, say it is aché (grace in the Afro-Cuban religion); others refer to good luck and how when "it’s your destiny, nothing changes that;" but most of them still can’t believe it….

(full story from Granma International)

Irish Times on Cuban Doctors in Haiti

'I never thought I would see such things'

"“Brigada Medica Cubana”, says the flag hanging from the building. While western aid agencies continue to be stymied by logistics and security hurdles, a handful of Cuban and Mexican nuns and doctors heroically care for victims of the earthquake, working on a folding table in the open air, beneath dusty eucalyptus trees, with little or no equipment."

"The Cuban open-air clinic is in Belair, one of the worst neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince, where police have played cat and mouse with looters for the past week. We hear shooting once or twice, and police cars speed by with sirens."

"Dr Gaston Bob Edem, a Haitian who trained in Cuba, stops to speak for a moment. He has been treating the injured since the night of the earthquake. “I’ve seen such horrific things, I couldn’t begin to list them. Mangled people . . . I never thought I would see such things. We are used to seeing dead animals in the streets, but not people, it is inhuman . . .”
The doctor is glad that the Americans, Europeans and other foreigners are in Haiti, “but they’re taking too long. They should do like us.”
(full story at the Irish Times)

Support Cuban Doctors in Haiti

Emergency Earthquake Appeal: Support Cuban-Trained Haitian Doctors

Give your donation staying power... with MEDICC and Global Links

January 17, 2010--The effects of the disastrous earthquake in Haiti will be long term. That's why MEDICC and Global Links (Pittsburgh, PA) are sending material aid to the Cuban-trained Haitian doctors on the front lines in Haiti's public hospitals and clinics. Now 400-strong, they were already on the ground when disaster struck, serving in 120 communities throughout the country, including the hard-hit capital of Port-au-Prince.

Graduates of the Latin American Medical School in Cuba, these doctors come from some of Haiti's poorest regions, and will stay long after the initial disaster response is over. Like the 370 Cuban medical personnel who work with them, they are committed for the long-term to improving health and health care in Haiti.

And so are Global Links and MEDICC: together, we are organizing a recovery and long-term medical assistance program relying on decades of experience in regional material aid cooperation, and with Cuba and Haiti in particular. We will be working with representatives of the Haitian graduates of the Latin American Medical School to identify needs for medicines, medical supplies and equipment. And we will get these supplies directly to them.

While US law does not allow Cuban doctors in Haiti to receive these essential medical materials--the US embargo taking its toll post-disaster--the MEDICC and Global Links team will help ensure distribution to the young Haitian physicians working in public hospitals and clinics alongside the Cuban team, seeing hundreds of patients daily.

(More info and online donation link:

VIdeo of Cuban Doctors in Haiti

Some videos I missed on Cuba's assistance in Haiti

With the Cuban doctors in Haiti...

The worst tragedy is not being able to do more
Leticia Martínez Hernández
Photos: Juvenal Balán

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti. — The little boy, with a drip attached to his hand — although at that stage it wasn’t helping him very much — couldn’t stop trembling. The fluid that perhaps in other circumstances would give him some strength was not passing through his collapsed veins. Lying on a piece of cardboard, his life was ebbing away while, at his feet, a Cuban doctor lamented not being able to do more.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cuba / Haiti roundup

CNN video: Cuban Medical Personnel Providing "quality medical care". One of the few places in Port-au-Prince where Haitians can go for care and have a "reasonable expectation of surviving".

* * *
Cuba now has 220 doctors and health staff working in the disaster relief in Port au Prince, Haiti along with ten tons of medicines flown in to meet the most pressing needs. Numerous young Haitian doctors who studied medicine on scholarships in Santiago de Cuba have joined in the effort, including 37 who arrived from Cuba on Saturday. Cuba News Agency reports on Sunday that planes carrying specialists in emergencies also bring shipments of medical supplies. On Saturday the equipment for three operating rooms arrived from Cuba to support the efforts of the medical brigade already working at several points in the Haitian capital. Cuba has an ongoing program of treatment throughout Haiti under an agreement with the host government. Besides the doctors concentrated in Port au Prince for the earthquake relief effort, another 227 provide services throughout the impoverished Caribbean country. (

Dr. Carlos Alberto Garcia, coordinator of the Cuban medical brigade in Haiti, said that the Cuban doctors, nurses and other health personnel work non-stop, day and night, after the critical situation left by the earthquake. He added that operating rooms are open 18 hours per day and that health care is also provided in the nearby departments of Aquin, Okay and others.

The Cuban experts are working in the University Hospital in Delmas 33 and also at the Rennaissance and Ofatma hospitals. The situation in the Haitian capital is critical and hundreds of unburied dead bodies remain on the sidewalks and streets, which – according to Dr. Garcia – could complicate the epidemiological situation.
(SolVisión Guantánamo)
* * *

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cuban Medical Teams in Haiti

Cuba is sending additional medical personnel to Haiti following the devastating 7.0 earthquake that rocked the island at 4:52pm on 12 January 2010. The new teams complement over 400 existing Cuban professionals (344 of those medical) who have been assisting Haitians for several years.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriquez says the information currently available indicates only light injuries among some of the Cuban personnel, with the remainder providing emergency medical services in the two Cuban field hospitals in Port-au-Prince. By early Wednesday evening, some 700 wounded had been attended by Cuban doctors and nurses.

Rodriguez says Cuba is prioritizing medical assistance to Haiti, with more personnel and medicine shipments to follow in the coming days.

Latest Edition of North of Havana Available Now!

The Canadian Network on Cuba's Winter 2009 newsletter "North of Havana" is now available here:

Highlights include:
  • The Cuba-Nova Scotia Art Exchange
  • UN condemns US blockage on Cuba
  • Report from the 2009 Che Guevara Brigade
  • Cuba: 50 Years of Achievements
  • Using Your Mastercard in Cuba

Celebrating 50 Years of the Cuban Revolution in Halifax

On October 2-3, 2009, Saint Mary's University hosted a symposium - Transformation: Latin America On the Move! sponsored by NS Cuba Association, PSAC, CUPW, Just Us Coffee Roasters, and the National Council of Latin American and Caribbean Women in Canada. For highlights of the symposium, please click here:

Teresita Vicente, Cuban Ambassador to Canada and Halifax MP Megan Leslie